After months of waiting, we finally know what games won this year’s Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres! Without further ado, I’ll present the winners along with a comment on how the predictions went.
Spiel des Jahres 2020
Reading through the comments on the interweb most players seem surprised about the winner of the red meeple. Not me! It was on my list from the very beginning as probably the strongest contender. Despite nominating the fairly complex My City and Nova Luna along with Pictures, in the end the jury went – again – for the super simple and approachable game.
Inevitable, there are those who complain that one year after Just One there’s yet another party game taking home the main award. I really think the BoardGameGeek crowd needs to rethink their definition of a party (and probably why they’re never invited to any). Not every “light” game is automatically a party game, and I believe neither this nor last year’s winner would be considered party games by the average gamer. At the end of the day, if you’re hanging out on board gaming sites all day long, you’re not the target audience of Spiel des Jahres. The award is meant to guide people who might purchase one game a year to have a good time with a quick and approachable experience.
By all accounts, Pictures seems to fit that description perfectly, so I say congratulations to Daniela and Christian Stöhr for winning the most prestigious award in board gaming with their first (or second) design!
Kennerspiel des Jahres 2020
Unlike the winner of the red meeple, virtually everybody agreed that The Crew will win an award, though not necessarily which one. I’ve discussed at length in the previous articles why I agree with the jury’s classification of The Crew as a Kennerspiel.
One last thing to mention is that The Crew's predictable win wasn’t down to a lack of competition. By all accounts, both Cartographers and King’s Dilemma are highly regarded and would have deserved the award. As gamers, we can be excited that it’s not only the quantity of games being released that’s rising, but also the quality, throughout the spectrum.
The jury explicitly pointed out the quality of this year’s games in all of this hobby’s facets. When you look back through the different games discussed in this series, I’m sure you’ll agree with them, and it’ll get you excited for all the games yet to be published.
I certainly had a ton of fun reading reviews, following discussions, crunching numbers, and distilling everything into my predictions. The outcome makes me quite proud and I’m already thinking about next year’s awards, so be sure to check back in for Spiel des Jahres 2021!